Archive for IndyCar

SVSP Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Have you met our strength and conditioning staff? Our coaches have the experience and expertise to take your performance to the next level. Wherever you are in your journey, they will help you maximize your potential on the field of play. Our coaches give you the same tools and attention that professional athletes receive. What are you waiting for?

Brandon Johnson


Greg Moore


Jaime Waymouth


Emily Burgess


David Williams


Stephanie Young


Jeff Richter

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Named June Spirit of Sport Honoree


In a sport where just half a second can mean the difference between a win and a loss, teams are constantly looking for that extra edge. For Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM), that means focusing on improving all areas of performance — at the track, in the garage and in the weight room. Employing the expertise of coaches, nutritionists and sports psychologists at St.Vincent Sports Performance, the SPM team works tirelessly to train their bodies, improve their diets, and prepare their minds for the challenge of each race.

Despite a five-month-long season, SPM works for each tenth of a second seven days a week, 358 days a year. (They do reward themselves with one week off after the season). During a race week, the team will typically log between 60-80 hours a week, but no one complains — they’re all working toward a common goal. It’s that dedication and competitive drive that has brought the team two wins, one pole and eight Top 5 finishes so far this year. Undeterred by being a small and young team in the Verizon IndyCar Series, SPM remains in the hunt for the 2014 championship.

Nominate someone you know for a Spirit of Sport Award by visiting

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Top 5 #SVSP Moments of 2013

What a year! From a successful NFL and NBA Combine Program, to a bigger and better Spirit of Sport Awards in June, to the grand opening of SVSP Clay Terrace, St.Vincent Sports Performance had a great 2013.


Check out some of the highlights from the year:


1. Clay Terrace Grand Opening – In September, St.Vincent Sports Performance opened a second location in Hamilton County and celebrated with a fun and interactive open house. Read about the new facility.


2. Tony Kanaan winning the Indy 500 – In May, long time SVSP friend and client Tony Kaanan won the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. Everyone at SVSP couldn’t be more proud of all the hard work Tony has put in over the years, and were so happy to see him in Victory Circle!


3. Get in Shape Harlem Shake – The social media trend “Harlem Shake” took off in February, and SVSP put together our own version.


4. Combine Confessional – The athletes in the NFL Combine Training Program took part in Combine Confessional videos, providing an insider’s look into how training for a career in professional football was going. Watch all the videos here, but check out one of the favorite videos, The Gauntlet.


5. SVSP Tip of the Month – 2013 was filled with great performance, nutrition, training and psychology tips for any athlete in any sport. Check out two of the best performance and nutrition tips from Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Jeff Richter, CSCS, USAW and Registered Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD.


Here’s to a great 2014!



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INDYCAR Drivers and Teams Prepare for 2013 at SVSP

The IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks off this weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla., and certified strength and conditioning coaches Jeff Richter, CSCS, USAW and Aaron Feldman, CSCS, USAW lead the motorsports training at SVSP, and have been training drivers and pit crews this past off-season, with the goal to take the checkered flag on race day.


Like all athletes that train at SVSP, each driver and pit crew member go through the Functional Movement Screen to identify movement pattern restrictions. Using this information, Jeff and Aaron create individualized, corrective exercises, mostly dealing with improving joints’ mobility and stability and preventing injuries. Then they move on to working on strength training, anaerobic power and racing-specific drills.


For drivers, improving endurance, mental focus and strength are the main elements of their workouts. They need to endure the powerful forces their bodies sustain while in the car, and still be able to make lightning quick decisions.


For pit crew members, focusing on strength, power and speed help to prepare them for the quick bursts required to successfully make a pit stop. In the weight room, they complete upper and lower body exercises to work on pushing, pulling and having a good hip hinge. They also do different crew-specific drills for a fueler, air-jack and a tire changer.


The pressure on the pit crews to perform when fatigued during races is an added element that Jeff and Aaron try and emulate during workouts. It only takes one person’s mistake during a pit stop to cost the entire team the race. The pit crews quickly transition from intense cardio workouts to strength training drills, to practice performing at a high level despite their fatigue and added stress.


Watch for all the drivers and teams training at SVSP this weekend and throughout the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

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Combating the Heat: SVSP at the Indy 500

The action on the greatest racecourse in the world matched the heat that pit crews and team support personnel endured at the 2012 Indianapolis 500.   The temperature in Indianapolis hit 91 degrees at the end of the race, just one degree shy of the race-day record of 92 set in 1937.


Although the focus of St.Vincent Sports Performance’s relationship with IZOD IndyCar Series teams is strength and conditioning to help improve performance in pit stops, the comprehensive nature of SVSP services impacts teams’ performance in other ways.


KV Racing Driver Rubens Barrichello and his pit crew at the 2012 Indianapolis 500

Utilizing SVSP’s Performance Medicine knowledge of heat related illnesses, St.Vincent Sports Performance personnel (Tim Drudge, Aaron Feldman, Ryan Harber and Jeff Richter) were stationed in both Ed Carpenter Racing and KVRacing Technology pit boxes to keep pit crews and support personnel hydrated and performing at a high level, despite the heat.


With track temperatures nearing 140 degrees, SVSP team members observed team personnel for signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses and emergencies such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc.  For more information on heat related illnesses, check out the information found at the Korey Stringer Institute website.


Much of the preparation began in the days leading up to the Indy 500. Drivers and crew members started hydrating with water, electrolyte replacement fluids and foods that promote good hydration.  They were encouraged to be aware of the color of their urine in the days, hours and prior to and during race day.  Optimally, urine color resembles weak lemonade.


The six members of the crew that go “over the wall” are completely covered with fire retardant clothing.  These circumstances prevent the traditional opportunities for heat dissipation (sweat evaporation, heat escaping from the head and extremities) that one would find in “stick and ball” sports.


During the race, SVSP team members incorporated ice towels, manufactured shade (umbrellas, and shade from pit equipment), water, sport drinks, and fans to keep team members cool.  Additionally, crew members were encouraged to remove their helmets immediately after a pit stop, place ice towels on their head, neck, armpits and other areas of their torso to decrease their core temperature.


For other tips and strategies to monitor hydration levels, watch the SVSP Sports Nutrition Tip of the Month!


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Ralph Reiff takes a 2-Seater ride at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Ralph Reiff, Executive Director of St.Vincent Sports Performance, took the ride of a lifetime on Fast Friday, speeding around the 2-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway track in a 2-Seater car at speeds up to 180 mph.


Ralph was suited up in full race gear: a fire suit, race shoes, and a balaclava. Prior to the ride, Ralph was looking forward to taking his experience in the car, and applying it back to the St.Vincent Sport Performance training room.


INDYCAR drivers such as Tony Kanaan, JR Hilenbrand, and the KV Racing Pit crew go to St.Vincent Sports Performance for training by the Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches. Read how CSCS Jeff Richter uses circuit training to train the KV Racing Pit Crew.


“We’ve been taking care of drivers for over 10 years now, and this is the first time that I’ve been in the car, going around the race track,” said Ralph before his ride. “Today will be a real life experience that will see if we match up to what my thoughts have always been about what it feels like.”


After three hot laps around the track, Ralph gained a new perspective on the physical demands of race car drivers.


Watch Ralph’s 2-Seater Ride below!



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How to Train an INDYCAR Pit Crew: KV Racing Spotlight

Tony Kanaan with Certified Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Harbor after the 2011 Kona Ironman Race

Tony Kanaan has been a long-time partner and friend to St.Vincent Sports Performance, and this year, he has brought his INDYCAR Pit Crew Team to the SVSP training facility. The KV Racing Pit Crew began training at SVSP this winter with Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Jeff Richter, CSCS, USAW. Hear from Jeff as he explains the process of training these unique athletes.



“When evaluating what to include in a strength and conditioning program for KV Racing, we need to create a “needs analysis,” to have a complete understanding of what the physical demands and goals are for these athletes. The members of KV Racing need to be able to perform powerful and quick movements,  and have the ability to withstand fatigue and maintain mental focus/physical readiness over the course of a long-day at the track.



Before every session with KV Racing, we perform a dynamic mobility session that targets movement in the hips, shoulders and thoracic spine. Restoring proper functioning of these movement patterns allow these crew members to feel better after the exhausting weekend at the race track.

KV Racing Pit Crew during practice at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg



Much of our core training involves the crew performing explosive exercises that correlate with the specific movements and actions of a pit stop. To achieve this, we use circuit training and related variations as a method to increase work capacity. This style of training involves multiple stations with strength exercises, where the athletes perform the exercise for as many reps as possible for a set duration of time. Minimal recovery is given as they move to the next station and then start the next exercise. Each station engages a different aspect of movement while the body works holistically to maintain positioning.  The following is an example of a basic circuit that could be used:


  • Station 1: Hip Dominant Lower Body Movement – kettlebell swings 30 seconds
  • Station 2: Horizontal Push – push-ups 30 seconds
  • Station 3: Knee Dominant Lower Body Movement – reverse lunges 30 seconds
  • Station 4: Horizontal Pull – TRX rows 30 seconds

*10 seconds between stations, 45 seconds rest after the 4 stations are completed. Repeat 4 times.”



Using circuit training to train the athletes of KV Racing prepares their bodies for the physically draining pit stops they will be executing during the IZOD IndyCar Series races this year. The faster and more efficient pit stops are can determine the overall success of the race. SVSP’s wishes Tony Kanaan and KV Racing Pit Crew success this racing season!


Check out the KV Racing Pit Crew and Tony Kanaan during pit practice at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25.

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St.Vincent Sports Performance Mourns Loss of Longtime Partner Dan Wheldon

SVSP client, partner, friend sustains fatal injuries at INDYCAR season finale

Training at SVSP, Presenting at 2010 Spirit of Sport Awards, PMCH helmet design

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct 17, 2011 – Sunday evening, Dan Wheldon, INDYCAR driver and longtime partner of St.Vincent Health and St.Vincent Sports Performance (SVSP) passed away from injuries sustained in the season-ending IZOD INDYCAR Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Wheldon was one of 15 drivers involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 11, which resulted in fatal injuries for the two-time Indianapolis 500 Champion. Unable to avoid the collision, Wheldon’s car went airborne before making heavy impact with the retaining wall and catch fencing. He was airlifted to University Medical Center, but was unable to overcome his injuries.


St.Vincent Sports Performance and Wheldon worked closely for many years. Wheldon had been a St.Vincent Sports Performance client since 2002, utilizing services including performance training and medicine. In 2009 and 2010, he served as a celebrity presenter for SVSP’s Spirit of Sport Awards, honoring high school athletes for the unsung virtues in sports. He also participated annually in the St.Vincent Health Associate day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


One of Wheldon’s most popular programs with St. Vincent Health was his annual helmet design contest, in which patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (PMCH) created submissions, and winning designs were incorporated into his helmet worn during INDYCAR races. He was also a frequent visitor of PMCH.


St.Vincent Sports Performance Executive Director, Ralph Reiff on the loss of Wheldon: “Dan chose to be a good guy. He made parenting of his sons, Sebastian and Oliver his priority. Dan made us all better at our craft by pushing us to make him a better athlete. Dan has made us better people by modeling a courageous and kind life.”

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Tony Kanaan is an IRONMAN

After an inspiring weekend and an amazing finish by Tony Kanaan at the Kona Ironman, Certified Athletic Trainer, Ryan Harber, ATC, LAT, CSCS, recaps the Ironman experience.


The clock read 4:00 am, but TK had already been up for an hour re-checking his transition and special needs bags.  Race morning jitters prevented any kind of solid sleep.  Bodymarking was at 4:45 am, and then it was off to the transition area for the last chance to check on his bike and top-off his tires with air.  TK and I found a quiet hallway in the host hotel to perform a dynamic warm-up / muscle activation to get his body ready for the next 13 hours.  With a race plan set, Tony began the race with confidence, resisting the urge to push hard on the bike, in order to save enough energy for the full marathon.  With the weather being hot and humid, he would need to keep his hydration levels in check.




Tony completed the swim in one hour and 24 minutes, right where he thought he’d be.  He took his time in transition, making sure to hose off most of the ocean water.  The salt from the water can find its way into crevices on your body and really tear up your skin and cause painful blisters.  The 112 mile bike portion of the race was the longest of the day, complete with grueling hot conditions.  Temperatures on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway bike course reached 135 degrees.  TK pulled back in just under six hours, still looking strong and in great spirits.  Luckily some clouds decided to roll in, providing some nice shade from the hot sun for the first few miles of the run.  TK had friends that were able to stage themselves throughout the run course to provide some much welcomed encouragement.   His fiancé was even able to ride along side him on a beach-cruiser bicycle for miles 15-23.  Seeing familiar faces in the crowd really helped break-up the run and get his mind off of the pain.  A 5hr+ marathon is a long time to think about how your body feels…


The last few miles of the race, TK ran with Andre Szucus, a special needs athlete.  This man was running with a prosthetic leg – talk about inspiring!  They even crossed the finish line together. Tony finished the race with a time of 12 hours, 52 minutes, and 40 seconds.


There were so many stories throughout the night as the clock ticked closer to the midnight cut-off time.  It was hard to imagine racing for 17+ hours, and not having your time count in the official race records.  The oldest finisher was an 81 year-old man, who finished in just under 16 hours and 30 minutes.  During an interview, he asked the man with the microphone, “Am I crazy for being out there?”  The man’s reply, “No! …You are an IRONMAN!”  The adrenaline of finishing and seeing the sense of accomplishment felt by the athletes afterwards was truly inspiring. The ages of the finishers for the last half-hour of the race were all in their 60’s and 70’s.  That’ll make you feel guilty sitting in your chair reading this blog!  


Post-race, Tony was feeling great.  He was most concerned about getting his finisher’s medal!  Recovery and rehydration started immediately with Rockin’ Refuel and a pneumatic compression device called a NormaTec MVP, which aids with blood circulation in the legs.  The biggest “injury” we have to deal with is managing the many blisters on his feet!

The Ironman is a race that makes you believe that yes, you can do anything;  the internal struggle to just keep moving, the self-efficacy to say I can…not I can’t.  Athletes like these tell themselves, “You can quit, and nobody will care…but you will know.”  And that’s what keeps them moving.


Finishing the Ironman is an amazing feat, and St.Vincent Sports Performance was honored to be a part of Tony Kanaan’s experience.  We hope his story serves as inspiration to anyone who is looking to push themselves to a level they’ve never been before.  Your goal doesn’t have to be the Ironman, if it’s pushing through the tough last mile, finally signing up for that 5K, or just getting to the gym one more day a week, SVSP is here to help you define your sports performance.


Check out more pictures from Kona on the St.Vincent Sports Performance Facebook page.

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More From Kona: TK Prepares for the Ironman

Tony Kanaan and the team from St.Vincent Sports Performance are in the home stretch before he competes in the World Championships Ironman race this weekend in Kona, Hawaii.  SVSP has been involved in every step of TK’s training; traveling to every INDYCAR race to keep his training on pace, developing a specific nutrition plan to keep him hydrated and energized, and getting him mentally ready to swim, bike, and run for the better part of 17 hours.


Ryan Harber, LAT, ATC, CSCS, TK’s Certified Athletic trainer, recaps the first few days in Kona, leading up to the race on Saturday.


Upon arrival to Kona, Tony’s priority was to get a lay of the land.  Previewing the course to find landmarks is a great race-week tip.  Knowing how many miles from the airport to transition, or how many milesfrom Kona Mountain Coffee to the Energy Lab, can help you break up the 140.6 total miles into smaller, more manageable segments for your head to process.    

Tuesday morning TK met up with professional triathletes and local cyclists at our host hotel for an easy “active recovery” ride along the course’s bike route.  It turned out to be a very windy day, which gave TK some familiarity with the infamous Kona conditions.  He also enjoyed picking the brains of the pros in the cycling group on what to expect come race day.


Wednesday morning, Tony met up with some other triathletes for a quick dip in the cold water at the Pier, where the first leg of the race will start on Saturday.  Buoys marking the racecourse extending far out of site along the horizon can be very intimidating.  But getting over that fear by doing a practice 2000m swim will do wonders for your confidence on race day.


Tony also participated in the traditional pre-race “Underwear Run,” yesterday where participants, family, and friends sport fun and unique undergarments.


TK will begin running the Ironman World Championships at Kona on Saturday morning. Follow @DefiningSports and @TonyKanaan on Twitter for pictures and updates throughout the weekend.

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